Ormolu Furniture

Ormolu Furniture

Definition of brass ormolu furniture and its characteristics.

Craftsman Style

¶ Ormolu furniture is something of a misnomer, but as it is best known by that name we will describe the wood and other materials used in making it. In Europe pear wood is used, in America cherry is substituted for pear wood, from the difficulty of procuring the latter; pear wood is of a light color, about the same as beech, and is very solid and close grained. After the furniture is put together, the wood is soaked with a solution of logwood chips, then diluted copperas and vinegar is applied on the logwood while wet. The chemical action while it is drying produces a brilliant black, equal to the best ebony. When relieved by fire-gilt ornaments and mouldings it is what is called ormolu furniture, and is the most effective and expensive style of furniture for drawing-rooms.

¶ An imitation of this beautiful article is made with cherry wood and lacquered ornaments; but we might as well substitute paste for diamonds and sell them as genuine gems.

¶ Definition: Ormolu is a metallic composition of 58 per cent, copper and 42 per cent, brass; this composition is particularly required for fine fire-gilding, and when cast in chaste ornaments and well gilt does not tarnish any more than fine gold; it can be cleaned after fifty years' use and be equal to new. The imitation is made of the same material that is used for chandeliers and gas pipes, and is lacquered to imitate gilding: this, of course, is not near so expensive as fire-gilding, and is of questionable taste.

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